The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has denounced a two day “gay cure” conference that is being held in London this weekend.
The event organised by the evangelical Anglican Mainstream Organisation to hold a two-day anti-gay “Sex and the City” conference at a “secret location” in London on April 24 and 25.
The event will have “a special focus on how religious professionals and friends/relatives can respond biblically and pastorally to those struggling with unwanted SSA (same-sex attraction)”.
According to the organisation, the conference is “ideal for clergy, rabbis, psychologists, therapists, educators and others concerned about the plethora of sexual issues confronting us in today’s society, including mentoring the sexually broken, the sexualisation of culture, pornography, the Bible and sex, and marriage, the family and sex”.
GALHA secretary David Christmas told PinkNews.co.uk: “The fact that the whole premise is riddled with absurdities does not make it any the less dangerous. For the past 30 years, mainstream medicine and science have accepted that homosexuality is in no sense an illness, and as such, by definition, cannot be cured.”
“Humanists certainly don’t believe that most religious believers are mad, despite their frequently believing in invisible beings, miracles, and after life experiences.. Given this, it seems brave, indeed foolhardy for some Christians to claim that homosexuals are in any sense mentally ill.”
He added: “There is no evidence that subjecting gay people to indoctrination and reprogramming can change their underlying sexuality. At most it can encourage people to suppress their true feelings, often with disastrous consequences, including ill-fated heterosexual marriages. It is preying on the most emotionally vulnerable members of the gay community – those who are for any reason unhappy – in order to suck them into an intolerant and absolutist morality, without any regard for their needs or their nature.
“The ‘ex gay’ movement is a deeply flawed and intolerant movement, alien to British standards of respect, tolerance, and simple common sense.
The news comes after research published in the BMC Psychiatry journal showed that a sixth of registered British therapist and psychiatrists have attempted to “cure” patients of homosexuality.
The study led by Michael King of University College London, surveyed 1,400 medical professionals but finds that there is very little evidence that therapy can really help change whether a person is lesbian, gay or bisexual.
“There is very little evidence to show that attempting to treat a person’s homosexual feelings is effective and in fact it can actually be harmful,” said Professor King .
“So it is surprising that a significant minority of practitioners still offer this help to their clients.”
Seventeen per cent of the professionals questioned had attempted to help patients “reduce” gay or lesbian feelings, utilising techniques such as aversion therapy, more commonly used in the 1970s and 1980s.
The therapy involved associating gay imagery with electronic shocks. But just four per cent of therapists and psychiatrists said that they would try to use such treatments if asked by a patient today.